By Dr. Norman Berdichevsky
If there is one thing any mature adult must have learned by now – it is that politics is the art of the possible.
Insisting on doctrinaire divisions, and extolling ideology well above and beyond the current primary season in the Republican Party to the point of utter exhaustion and boredom, and harping on the personal wealth of Mitt Romney will only ensure the election of Barack Obama.
Does anyone believe that if Santorum or Gingrich or Paul had the same personal resources, they would not have hugely outspent their rivals in the primary campaign to gain an advantage with the media and advertising?
Does anyone believe that these three would have taken the “high road” in refraining from vitriolic attacks – almost certainly on the personal level rather than the pro-Romney Super Pack information provided about their own policies and voting records.
Mitt Romney’s huge victory in Massachusetts among those voters who know him best and whom he served as governor demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was able to provide effective government even in a state with a huge Democrat majority in the legislature and satisfy his Republican constituency that he did a good job.
The other candidates are characterized by their ideological purity, inability to attract independent voters or disaffected Democrats and the habit (like Obama) of promising every audience what it most wants to hear from $2.50 a gallon gasoline or massive improvements to the ports of Charleston and Georgetown in South Carolina to Ron Paul’s retrograde 19th century version of Ayn Rand’s libertarianism.
If you want the consistency of those who never change because they are committed to principles like Ron Paul and those on the Titanic who believed until the last moment that it was unsinkable, you will go down with your head held high but not much else.
What Romney has demonstrated and what the other candidates have failed at, and now have pushed their egotism and ambition beyond all limits, putting in doubt whether they will support the Republican ticket is his promise “I will never embarrass you”. In politics, this is no small promise.
Anyone who doubts that this is indeed the most important election in our memory, may still want to play games of imagining a “brokered convention” (like those who love to play fantasy baseball with famous World Series teams of the Past) and still believe that this will not be the worst of all possible worlds.
The analysis of the recent primary results in Illinois’ conclusively shows Romney’s attraction for those who define themselves as ‘conservative’ and “Tea Party supporters” (much more representative than any of the previous primary state elections). His appeal in every region of the country except the South (which he will decisively win anyway in the general election) and the rustiest part of the Midwest rust belt ensures the crucial electoral vote needed for victory. His appeal to women (Obama’s strongest demographic) dwarfs that of Santorum and Gingrich. His sweep of Puerto Rico and the endorsement he received from Governor Luis Fortuño is a vital asset to start winning back Hispanics.
Santorum’s incredibly insensitive and outright stupid remarks denigrating JFK over the issue of the separation church and state, his blind spot on the importance of at least stating the equal status of Spanish in Puerto Rico with English and needless comments regarding contraception and the inevitable fall of Gingrich’s shooting star simply cannot be hidden with smoke and mirrors.
The wasted time and effort spent on other ‘shooting stars’ such as Texas Governor Perry and flash in the pan Herman Cain are reminders of the immaturity of many arch-conservative angry primary voters who think that they must avenge the disaster of the John McCain campaign of 2008 or the media’s hostility towards Sarah Palin and that this is done by an “anti-Romney” vote
That was then – this is now and Romney is no McCain. They must bury the hatchet, and smoke the peace pipe with Romney and NOW realize that the worst of all possible worlds is the reelection of Barak Hussein Obama and all that entails. We must be beating the war drums loudly to go on the warpath with our tribes against Obama!
He has won endorsements from the most prominent Republican governors and state officials across the country including from my initial favorite candidate, Tim Pawlenty. After Pawlenty’s withdrawal, I did what everyone, deeply believing that our Republic is mortally endangered, should do – choose the candidate enjoying the widest possible appeal in a coalition from disaffected Democrats, mainstream Republicans, Independents, Libertarians and Couch Potatoes still able to think.
Romney’s explanation for his change of mind on abortion rings true. His health care plan in Massachusetts is his biggest error – let those who never err cast the first stone. The idea of the individual mandate was the product of several think tanks, notably the conservative Heritage Foundation where it was endorsed by Newt Gingrich. In 2007, Democrats and Republicans introduced a bi-partisan bill containing the mandate while as a candidate, Barack Obama opposed it. That was then. This is now.
Unless the 2012 popular vote is decisively anti-Obama, we will not be able to undo the damage done. The election must demonstrate that this experiment was deeply flawed and its results more divisive than any previous presidential election in memory. None of the other Republican candidates can even in the best of all possible worlds win.
The Mormon Elephant in the Room
A 2011 Gallup poll showed that 27 percent of Democrats would not be willing to vote for a presidential candidate of their party who happened to be Mormon. Among Republicans, the equivalent percentage although smaller at 18 was still significant.
The same poll indicated that the only group voters distrusted more than Mormons were gay and lesbian candidates and atheists. Forty-nine percent of those polled said they would oppose an atheist for president and 32 percent said they would oppose a homosexual. Only 5 percent said they would oppose a black candidate. None of the entry and exit polls taken during the primaries identified voters with an anti-Mormon bias. If they had, it is obvious that Romney would have received none of their votes. If Romney were in every way the same candidate but had not been born a Mormon, I doubt we would still be plowing through more needless Republican primaries. The 2012 presidential election will also be a test of tolerance. Those of us who want to defeat Barack Obama should make that clear.
The ultimate in silliness this past weekend’s performances by both Gingrich and Santorum playing with their etch-a-sketch devices marks the low point in the primary campaign in which ambition trumps all reason and the common good – defeating Obama.
On “Face the Nation” (March 25, 2012), Representative Paul Ryan gave a clear signal in an interview with Chris Wallace that he would ultimately consider being on the ticket with Romney to help dramatically to get his budget plan adopted in a new Republican administration with a Republican majority in both houses – the only real step forward to begin dismantling the enormous problems of debt, the budget and entitlement reform, not the imagined pie in the sky overnight dismantling of half the federal government as proposed by the grinning Ron Paul in his gold tower. Anyone with half their memory cells in tact will recall that Gingrich attacked the Ryan plan as “right-wing social engineering”.
The best and only way to get rid of this disastrous administration and its chief in November is to support Romney now – smoke the peace pipe with him and bury the hatchet in order to go on the warpath against Obama and secure a conservative victory.
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